It’s been said more times than “Calgon, take me away” – New Jersey’s iGaming market has not lived up to the original projections of Governor Chris Christie. Like me, you’re probably tired of hearing it. Although true, it does not mean the state’s year-old online poker and casino market has been a disaster. And after three months of declining revenue reports, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement was proud to report a significant increase in December.
In the last few months, several online poker operators have fallen out of the race in New Jersey, leaving the state with just two licensed land-based casinos operating four online poker rooms between them. The Party Borgata network is licensed to The Borgata Atlantic City and operates PartyPoker NJ and Borgata Poker. Caesars Interactive Entertainment is the licensee of WSOP NJ and 888Poker NJ. Between them, online poker revenue for the month of December rose 10.13% from the previous month’s results.
Like every month before it, Party Borgata reported the largest amount of online poker rake taken in New Jersey, tallying up to $1,109,781. In November, the online poker network fell short of the 7-figure mark with $969,823, resulting in a 12.61% increase month over month.
Caesars’ 888-powered operations, WSOP and 888Poker, were also on the rise last month. The total online poker rake was $949,432 in December, up 7.23% from $880,780 in November. However, these two poker websites are expected to crack 7 digits when the reports for January 2015 are published next month.
Although both operators are powered by 888 software, WSOP NJ and 888Poker NJ chose to remain segregated entirely when New Jersey’s iGaming market went live in November of 2013. That changed last week when the online poker sites underwent a partial merging of player bases on low-limit cash game tables and a series of daily and weekly guaranteed tournaments totaling $130k in prize pools.
The traffic stats at PokerScout have already reflected a surge in cash game activity at both poker sites in the last 7 days. In fact, as of today, WSOP NJ has finally earned its way into the leading position as the most trafficked online poker network in New Jersey, now toting an average of 190 players. 888Poker’s All American NJ networked surpassed Party Borgata as well, now boasting 170 players to its former-leading rival’s 160.
To make matters a whole lot more interesting, it’s now rumored that PokerStars could become a licensed member of the New Jersey online poker market as early as March of this year. State Senator Ray Lesniak has spent years lobbying for online poker regulation on a federal level, and is a foremost advocate of bringing PokerStars to New Jersey.
According to a series of recent Tweets on his Twitter account (@SenatorLesniak), Sen. Lesniak is predicting “March 2015” to be the month that PokerStars finally receives its deserved licensure in The Garden State. He called the continual delays nothing but “more due diligence window dressing”.
If the Senator’s projection turns out to be true, the rivalry between Caesars and Borgata online poker sites will be ramped up 10-fold as these operators take on the challenge of competing against the industry’s long-standing global leader, PokerStars. Likewise, the revenue generated should see a significant boost.